Creating a Brand for Your Business Startup

While you have been busy creating and planning your business startup, you need to take some time to consider what and who you are. This is your business’ brand identity and planning it early on can go a long way in developing the message that your customers will remember about your company and its products and services.

Creating a brand takes into account all the aspects of your business to craft a message that is memorable as well as indicative of what you do. It signifies who you are, what you stand for, and can make a difference in the decisions you make now and into the future.

Appeal to Your Key Customer

When starting off brainstorming about your brand, you need to think about who your ideal customer is. Your brand should identify directly with this target market and be something that they can relate to. Think about your target market and what helps them recognize your business as one they prefer and would buy from. Use wording that appeals to them and will help them relate in a way that entices yet explains your brand in a concise and interesting way.

Using jargon or unfamiliar words that just don’t hit a note with your customer base can be a turn-off. Keep it simple and use words that compel your audience while also educating them on what you do. You want to make sure your brand resonates with your ideal customer so they can remember your business and be persuaded to buy from you because your business startup shares the same values as they do.

Examine Your Competition

It is also a good idea to have a grasp on what your competition is doing right with their branding. Investigate and dig deep into the ideas that your competitors have integrated into their brand. How are these brands identifying with customers? What is working? What is not? This little bit of investigation work can be beneficial to helping you develop your own brand as you can take key features that are advantageous and incorporate them into your own brand.

This can also help you avoid the branding concepts that your competition uses that are not as strong as they could be. Consider where your competition is missing the mark and note these areas for improvement with your own branding strategy.

Celebrate Your Individuality

You will also want to highlight the elements of your business startup that stand out. What makes you unique? Why are you different than the competition? These cornerstone separators are what you need to focus on with your brand. They can help you tell your story to your customers and set you apart from the pack in your niche.

This is where you celebrate what makes your business startup so special and make it a part of your branding message. Letting your customers know that particular aspect they can find with your business and not another can be a powerful part of your branding identification. Not only can this give you a leg up but it can be the sole deciding factor as to why a customer chooses your products and services over another.

Allow yourself to celebrate these standout features and make sure your customer base knows about them easily by seeing them in your logo, advertising, promotions, and marketing strategy. It should be your brand identifier and the reason that you are in business, to begin with.

Give Yourself Some Personality

Your brand should be the single thing that customers say about your business. They should be able to recognize your logo and the keywords that you have chosen to align with your brand. This should spell out the vision of your business startup and help your customers understand what you are all about. Try to infuse some personality into who your business is so your customer base can relate with you on an emotional level.

Appealing to the senses of your customer base can be beneficial and allow you to show your personal side too. The more you can show your customers that you are a business they need to buy from and follow, the more success your startup will have going forward. Your brand will set the stage for your business startup now and into the future. It will give you direction and be the sole factor in determining the role your business takes in the market.

Be Concise and Consistent

When you have determined the exact branding for your business startup, now is the time to utilize it to your advantage. Align your marketing strategy around your branding message and be sure to incorporate it into all your promotions. The stronger you can make the reach and visibility of your company branding, the more impact it will have on your customer base.

Many a company goes astray from their corporate branding, leaving customers confused as to what the business is all about. Set yourself on a path early on to use your branding in all media platforms and promotions to ensure that you send the right message that is clear and concise in its actions.

Be consistent in your branding and ensure your entire team is onboard with what the brand stands for and means. Instruct your staff on how to utilize the brand in every interaction so they can drive home the message with your customers.

Having a brand that signifies what your business startup stands for at the very beginning can eliminate cross signals about your business and the products and services you sell. It can create a clear definition of who you are as a business and make sure you develop a following with your customers right out the gate.

Taking the time to develop a brand strategy gives your business startup life and will define your company without question among your customers. You will have created the vision of your business startup and be able to build upon your brand moving forward, making it stronger and more powerful as time goes on.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Cutting Costs without Reducing Your Team Is Indeed Possible

One of the things that many businesses around the world are notorious for is layoffs of their workers when they have to cut costs. It appears as though the least required asset for these companies is their workers. As brutal as it may sound, many businesses reduce their team sizes to reduce their costs every day. It is quite surprising because there are in fact dozens of different ways for businesses, especially small ones, to cut their costs without sending their employees home. Not to mention, small businesses aren’t in the best position to terminate their employees when they are already struggling with growth and expansion.

Let us first look at the circumstances and reasons why small businesses resort to firing their employees and terminating their contracts.

Reasons Why Businesses Terminate Their Employees

·         Your Employee’s Performance is below Requirements

The biggest and probably the most valid reason for firing an employee is when they are not able to perform according to the set targets. Despite this being a valid reason, you should always follow the complete procedure and let go of your employee most ethically and professionally possible. Tell them that they also have the right to quit a company when a company does not pay them as promised and vice versa.

·         Your Employee Isn’t Honest

You have noticed that your employee is not honest. They try to spend time doing nothing behind your back and are interested in things that they should not be concerned with. It is a risk to have such a worker working at the company.

·         Your Employee Is Having a Hard Time Assimilating

One of the reasons why many employees are not able to give their best is because they can’t fit in the culture of your workplace. It’s either their religious, personal or moral beliefs that don’t let them feel being a part of the team.

·         Your Employee Doesn’t Care

Believe it or not, some employees don’t care about the rules and regulations of your workplace and being at a professional place. They bully people around them, try to act pretentious, are not punctual and do not pay any attention to the dress code policy.

·         Your Employees Cost You Too Much

This is quite an oxymoronic situation where the people who bring you business are the ones costing you money. Sometimes, companies become financially weak, and the only way they have to reduce their costs is firing employees. This helps them save money on employee compensation, bonuses, and incentives.

Is Employee Termination the Only Way to Cut Costs?

Not at all! There are many other ways for companies to reduce their costs without letting go of their employees. Here are some.

·         Negotiations with Vendors and Suppliers

You can look into your current list of suppliers and vendors and look for opportunities to reduce costs. You have to realize that there are group purchasing organizations developed specifically for this purpose. Furthermore, there are online search engines designed specifically for businesses where you can find other businesses that can help you reduce your costs.

·         Buy in Bulk

One simple way to reduce your costs is to purchase in bulk. Whether you are buying products or subscribing to software or online platform services, bulk purchases will always help you reduce your costs. As a business, you are subscribed to dozens of different online services and buy various items on a monthly or weekly basis. Buy them for several months or a complete year to save your costs.

·         Reduce Lavish Expenses for Now

It is amazing that businesses offer their employees with refreshments, coffee, and teas for free, but there is a time when you can do this with ease. Until and unless you have reached a point where affording such luxuries do not bother you at all, do not introduce them.

·         Invest in the Right Technology

Whether you are buying an electric generator for your office, bulbs and lights, ceiling fans, air conditioning units or machinery, you must invest in latest and energy-efficient technology.

·         Market Wisely

Marketing can suck a lot of your capital out of business depending on the type of marketing you are doing. However, it will be rewarding for you if you use analytical data to narrow down only the marketing campaigns that are lucrative for your business. Spend on them and keep away from spending on marketing efforts that have not yielded any good results.

Similarly, you can find many other ways to reduce your costs without sending your employees home.

Risks Associated with Firing Your Employees

While firing your employees should be the last thing on your list of methods to cut costs, you must also know the many risks that come with employee termination. Here are a few.

·         Sharing of Company Secrets with Competitors

When employees are not happy with your decision of firing them, they may not care about what action you can take against them. They may go for interviews with your competitors and share your trade secrets. This can be a big set-back for you if your competitor decides to take advantage of the situation.

·         Lawsuits

When employees believe they have been fired based on unreasonable grounds, they may try to take you to court. If any wrongful termination is proved, it can be expensive for your company. Always be sure to complete the procedure of termination or make sure the termination is justified.

·         Attack on Brand Image through Social Media

Today, people have a voice, and some people are ready to listen to their voice. Social networking platforms are great places for employees to discredit your brand and slander your image if they believe they were terminated by you wrongfully.

·         Bad Performance of Existing Employees

It does not matter how much you care about your employees. They may have a stronger connection among themselves than they have with you. Therefore, when you terminate an employee and cause some dissention among the ranks.

So, it is highly recommended that you consider the many other ways of cutting costs for your small business before choosing to terminate your employees.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Top Trending Markets For Business Startups

As a business startup, it is important to recognize the markets that are up and coming to help extend your business into these niches. It is also helpful for new startups looking for a business venture that will be successful and have some growth potential in the near future.

There are several markets that have emerged as of recently and should be paid attention to as they are trending and increasing in demand for products and services in these categories. Here are some of the top markets making headway in recent months that your business should pay attention to.

Green Living

It isn’t easy being green but many people are turning toward the trend of living in an environmentally friendly way whether it be through green home design or products and services that help promote a reduced carbon footprint both in and out of the home. As a business startup looking for ways that you can promote environmentally-friendly products and services into your business is sure to garner new customers that are hopping on the bandwagon to be a little greener in their everyday life.

From more energy efficient appliances to green kitchen design, there is a myriad of ways that your business startup can follow this trend and cultivate a new base of customers in the process. Plus, angel investors are savvy about what is trending in the market and will take notice if you are a little greener in your efforts or are able to capitalize on green living movement and its customer base.

Health And Wellness

Health and wellness is another niche market that is showing no signs of regress as consumers desire to look their best from head to toe continues to move forward. This market encapsulates everything from energy drinks to wrinkle creams and exercise equipment, that allow consumers to retain their youthful glow, fight disease and illness, and always have the best appearance.

Plus, an aging Baby Boomer generation is particularly focused on finding that fountain of youth you may be able to offer with your business startup. With Baby Boomers controlling, much of the spending that consumers do today and being an underutilized category, targeting your products and services directly to them can help you dip into a market that has a surplus of pocket money to spend on such luxury items.

Health and wellness products and services are also getting a nice boost from rising health care costs as more focus is placed on preventive health and staying healthy through personal care. This is only further complimented by an increase life expectancy for consumers and the need to look good no matter the cost.

Internet Technology Services

As fast as the internet grows, more services geared around helping internet users and website owners will continue to be needed. Products and services that center around the Internet will do well as there is a growing need for search engine optimization, website restructuring, and the ability to keep these sites safe through security protocols.

Add in the desire for online gaming as well as more educational opportunities that are online and you have a recipe for a high market demand that is focused on the internet and its usage. As a business startup, you need to think about how you can play toward this customer base with your products and services and tap into the revenue stream that this market offers new and emerging companies with internet technology service needs.

Mobile Commerce

Also, internet-focused is the ability to offer your products and services through mobile devices. Allowing your customers to buy directly from you using their cell phone, iPad or tablet can gain you in the revenue department as you are able to give them what they want immediately.

Having a website that doesn’t work with these devices can cost your customers that become fickle and choose your competitor over your business startup offering. Keep your eye on the ability to offer mobile sales to your consumers as this is the future of online sales as people use the most convenient platform possible to do their shopping now, during the holidays, and into the future.

Markets To Watch

While those are four markets that are heating up as of current, there are some new up and coming niches that are making advancements at an alarming rate. Keep your eye on virtual reality (VR) technologies as VR is becoming more of reality and the ability to integrate this technology into your business startup offering may give your business a leg up into the future.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another area that is getting high praise as well as cloud-based systems that seem to be taking a hold in most every business opportunity. Internet of Things (IoT) is also trending in home products as consumers look to be connected to their dwelling no matter where they reside.

Security also gets a big push as more data breaches occur and consumers become increasingly concerned about fraud protection. Working your business startup into any of these market opportunities may be what you need to add to your revenue stream or reach a new base of customers with your products and services.

If you are looking to secure funding from an angel investor, keep these markets in mind as your private investor is no doubt tuned into these niche potentials as well. This may be the key factor you were missing in your business plan or a turning point for your business startup. In either instance, these are markets to pay attention to and get involved with as there will be plenty of spending on in these areas by consumers now and into the future.

No matter what market you are looking to enter with your business startup, be sure to evaluate the opportunity available to you and how it will affect your potential revenue stream. By always being watchful of new and up-and-coming markets can help you discover a new business avenue and allow to increase your revenue going forward.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

The Growing Cyber Security Risks for Small Businesses and How to Counter Them

Interactivity and interdependence of devices are increasing with time as the concept of IoT (internet of things) strengthens with time. While IoT pursues maximum convenience for individuals and businesses, it has its associated challenges too. The more intertwined the modern devices become, the higher the risk of cybersecurity threats will be. Small, medium or large, your exposure to serious internet threats does not depend on the size of your business. If you are a small business, you are exposed to just as many dangers as large enterprises. In fact, the downside for small businesses is that they are not as prepared as large businesses against cyber threats.

So, how are cybersecurity risks are increasing with time and what kind of risks facing small businesses today? Take a look at the many ways cyber threats pose a danger to small businesses.

The Ever-increasing Count of Cyber Security Risks

  • The BYOD Issue

BYOD (bring your device) is an attribute of IT consumerization. To stay productive and efficient at the same time, more and more companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices to access and use corporate data. An example of this would be a worker using his tablet to open company’s employee-related document repository or an employee accessing work emails from his smartphone. Unless you have strict policies and standards set for your BYOD implementation, your business could be at risk of being infected by malware coming from users’ devices.

  • Software Update Delays

Do you ever wonder why companies are so adamant at making their users update to the newest software version? This is because of the older versions of the same software, application, plugin, etc. are open to risks of cyber attacks. With small businesses relying on various applications, web applications and plugins for smooth website operations, database works, on-premise security, etc. they have to be extra careful at updating them all. Any non-updated software or application is an open window for internet thieves to jump into your system.

  • Internal Threats

You have to be extra careful when authorizing access to any of your employees to your network and database. Many of the attacks on big companies in the past have been allegedly perpetrated by “inside men.” Sometimes the threats from your employees are not intentional but rather innocent. The authorized person might have access their account and forgot to log out while leaving the station. Some third person can then take advantage of the situation and cause damage to the system.

  • Sophisticated Phishing Scams

This is a common issue with small businesses as they don’t have strict protocols for employees to follow before opening emails or social media links. While phishing scam has been around for a time, the new form of this scam is called spear phishing. In this type of attack, the scammer sends email from an address that appears to the receiver as known and acquainted. This fools the person into clicking on the link and letting a dangerous malware (a ransomware at worst) enter the system.

  • Lack of Cyber Security Knowledge

Sometimes, the problem is not being prepared to face a problem. This is a common case with many small businesses where owners and caretakers are under the impressions that cybercriminals won’t attack them—why would they? They don’t realize the top aspect of cybercriminals, i.e., they don’t believe in discrimination. One of the common indicators of lack of cybersecurity knowledge at a workplace is when employees choose common, easy and predictable passwords for their entry points to the company’s system.

What Small Businesses Have to Do to Counter These Threats

  • Set Policies with a BYOD Approach

If you want to follow a BYOD approach at your workplace, you better document policies and regulations about it. Make your employees read these manuals carefully, so they know what standards and requirements they have to meet before they bring their own devices into the office. For employees that have to access your system from remote locations, set up a secure VPN.

  • Gives Employees Cyber Security Training

They won’t know unless you tell them, so make cybersecurity-related training a part of your hiring process. In fact, make internet security related questions a part of your interviews. Tell your employees to log out of their accounts and computers while leaving stations. Ask them to have strong passwords. Facilitate them with applications to not only remember those passwords but also generate random and difficult passwords. Explain to them why such measures matter and what the consequences of not complying with the regulations can be.

  • Take Professional IT Help

Go for outsourced managed services or hire your own IT professionals to take care of the security-related issues. An outsourced service or the internal IT team will set up a complete system consisting of policies, hardware and software technologies to not only protect your database from cyber threats but also respond in time if you get attacked nonetheless.

  • Give Authorized Accesses Wisely and Monitor Them

You can give access to sensitive company information and the system to only a select few employees. When you give them access to the system, grant them only the permissions according to their roles. Secondly, have a monitoring system to keep an eye on the activities of these employees. Furthermore, delete the accounts or change the passwords of accounts that are no longer in use because the employees they were created for have left the company.

  • Choose Third Party Services Wisely

Have proper meetings and consultations before you subscribe to any third party services. To run a business in today’s digital age, you have to subscribe to many platforms or applications as services, e.g., cloud CRM. You want to be sure that you are picking an industry-recognized and reliable partner. They must have the right security measures taken to protect not only their system but every bit of information that goes on their cloud platform from your databases.

Do not forget the security of your website among all this. In addition to your databases, internal software, applications used by employees, etc. you want to update your website plugins and applications in time too.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

10 Tips For Business Startup Owners

Every entrepreneur can use some advice when it comes to making sure their business startup gets off on the right foot. From the best way to run your business to following your dreams, these tips offer sound recommendations that can help your business startup maintain its operations and find success at every turn.

Sure, your business may run into challenges, and you may make some mistakes along the way, but it is how you recover that matters. Use these tips to your advantage when it comes to ensuring you avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into as a first-time entrepreneur.

1.      Be Passionate About What You Do

When it comes to business, doing what you love makes it that much easier to do well. Find a business that you can excel at and throw yourself into. You should have an underlying passion for the market, product, service, or brand that you are selling. In order for it to succeed in the market place, you need to believe in it, and then your customers will follow suit.

2.      Believe In Yourself

Every entrepreneur doubts themselves at one time or another, but you need to fully believe in your capabilities. Mistakes are inevitable, but understanding that you will fail at times can help you rebound and move forward with great resilience. Recognize that you have what it takes to make it and send that doubt packing as only when you truly believe in yourself and what you are doing will success come knocking at your door.

3.      Listen To Advice From Others

Many others have come before you with their own business startups. Learn from their challenges and heed their advice. They can allow you to steer clear of potential issues and make it easier for you to operate as a business startup. From finding funding to working with an angel investor, other entrepreneurs have experience that you can gain from and use to your advantage if you are willing to listen.

4.      Watch Your Overhead

You need to realize that you are business startup out of the gate. This means watching your cash flow and setting up shop in that swank office building on 5th Avenue may not be a possibility at this time. Keep things simple and observe your cost structure. You may need cash down the road and being on the hook for high rents or loan commitments can make it difficult to spread your wings. You’ll get there. Have patience and watch for the right opportunity to grow.

5.      Know Your Competition

Ignoring your competition as a business startup will get you nowhere. Be sure to thoroughly investigate everything there is to know about your competition and make your products and services better. Find out where your competitors are lacking and seize this opportunity to secure market share. Knowing your competition can give you that leg up your need to get ahead in the market and appeal to consumers in a new way. Do your homework and keep an eye on your competitors at all times.

6.      Practice Your Pitch

You are the greatest salesperson for your business startup. Whether you are looking to secure funding from an angel investor or looking to gain more customer loyalty, you need to have a pitch on the ready to tell anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Be concise in your approach and be sure to mention your goals, values, and vision. You never know who you’ll meet, and you need to be ready with a pitch that impresses.

7.      Get Out And Network

Networking is a key part of any entrepreneur’s success. Connecting with others in the industry can help you develop relationships that may come in handy for your business startup down the road. Plus, you will continue to learn from these individuals and a new opportunity with one of them may be just around the corner.

8.      Ask For Help

As much as you want to do it all, there comes a time when we all need to ask for help. There is no shame in getting someone involved in your business startup to help take it to the next level. You are going to need help as time goes on to evolve your company and reaching out to someone you trust may be the best thing that you can do for your business startup. You’ll be able to offload some of the burdens and free yourself up to focus on new projects that have been sitting on the back burner.

9.      Continue Learning

With the most successful CEOs reading four to five books a month, taking a page from their playbook can help extend your business startup and move it forward in new ways. Keep the door open and continue to educate yourself by learning from others. Reading books that focus on self-help, business, motivation, leadership, and communication can continue to motivate you and your company. If you keep your learning continuous, you’ll find plenty of new ideas just waiting to be realized.

10. Don’t Give Up

Above all don’t give up on yourself. Even when times get tough, and you feel like throwing in the towel. Take a step back and appreciate how far you have come. If you have the drive and motivation to succeed the potential to make it in the market is there. You need to believe that you can do it and push yourself harder than you have ever done before. With hard work comes success and you are most likely just on the cusp of winning.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

A Guide to Crafting the Perfect Startup Pitch

As an entrepreneur with a unique business idea, your most difficult task is to make others believe in your idea as much as you do. Your knowledge of your business and the passion for its concept reflects in how you pitch your startup. While learning comes from failures, your target should always be to ace your pitch the first time you deliver it. The idea of pitching your business to the experienced investors can be quite daunting. You are standing in front of the people who can look right through you and your words. Any mistakes or misinformation can ruin the opportunity of a successful investment.

If you have watched a few episodes of the Shark Tank, you would know how brutal investors can be with their probing and reprimanding. While their harsh words can be quite painful, the more disappointing part is when you are not able to get the investment you want.

Regardless of all the internal and external forces, favoring and non-favoring odds, it is your perfect pitch that can win the investors over. What you need to focus on is how you can craft the perfect pitch that has the thinnest chances of being turned down by potential investors. Here are the tips that will help.

7 Tips to Craft and Deliver the Most Successful Business Startup Pitch

1)    Keep Your Pitch Short

Do whatever it takes—hire professionals or spend hundreds of hours brainstorming—but come up with a shortened, succinct and most effective version of your pitch. Don’t make your investors yawn. Split your pitch into three to four different phases and transition through them smoothly. For example, split your pitch into four parts that could look like this:

  • Tell the story how it started.
  • Explain clearly what your product/service is.
  • Give out numbers i.e. revenue, sales, profits, losses etc.
  • State the size of the investment you are looking for and explain what the purpose for which you need the said amount.

So, you could give 2 and half minutes to every part and complete your pitch in 10 minutes. Increase the time for the section which you believe needs more attention.

2)    Be VERY Clear about Your Product/Service

One of the biggest mistakes that startup teams make is not being able to explain the idea they are selling. It can often happen when you divide your product/service into multiple sections with each section solving a different problem. If you are not able to explain your product/service clearly, it is an indication of one of the two problems or both: 1) you have not worked on your pitch and 2) you don’t know your service/products very well yourself. As soon as the investors feel lost during your pitch, consider the opportunity lost too.

3)    Know Your Target Market and Product’s Uniqueness

Many entrepreneurs’ pitches have turned into nightmares because of this particular point. It is like an interviewer asking you, “Why should we hire YOU?” There might be many other products similar to yours in the market without you knowing about them. What you have to know is what makes yours unique/different.

You must also know the market you are targeting with your product. Keep in mind that investors are often not interested in products that only target a niche market. Take the example of selling Christmas trees that only sell in the Christmas season—indicates a niche market, a limited product.

4)    Know Your Numbers

If you have not done your homework on your numbers, you have no chance of getting an investor interested in your product. It’s sad but true. In fact, some investors are only interested in numbers as they believe it’s the numbers that tell the real story, not the business owner him/herself. Know your revenues, sales, losses, incomes, etc. Make sure you know your profits and revenues regarding months, quarters and years. If they ask you how much profit you made in last three months, you must come up with an answer immediately.

5)    Be Clear on How You Intend to Spend the Money

This section is where the investors will gauge how trustworthy you are and how good you are as a person in the leading position for your business. Of course, if you want money for your business you must also know where you are going to spend it. A few things that investors are trying to find out by asking “how you are going to spend the money” are as under:

  • You aren’t asking for money just because you haven’t been able to take a paycheck from your business.
  • You are not going to use the money to pay for debts and old investments.
  • You are not going to use the investment money for a business process that will not contribute to business’ growth and expansion.

If your demand for money ends up being for any of the reasons mentioned above, you are likely to be rejected for your investment.

6)    Show Your Passion

Barbara Corcoran, successful businesswoman and investor, says that she looks at the enthusiasm and passion of an entrepreneur for their business. She believes that you cannot fake passion. Whether you are pitching through an online platform or live in front of the investors, your passion can get them interested in your business even if it is not something they have done before.

7)    Choose the Right Platform

In today’s digital world, you can gather funds from investors through an online platform, which is the most popular and successful way for entrepreneurs to gather funds for their start-ups. However, when it comes to choosing the platform, you must pick one that has a reliable network of investors, significant traffic, reputable online image and great exposure for startups. One that fulfills all these requirements and more is Funded. Funded is currently one of the best and most reliable platforms for startups, especially when it comes to angel investors.

Final Word

As a startup, the presence and preparation of your competitors might be intimidating at first, but that’s what you need to change about yourself. Your competitors might have reached to a bigger network of investors, more inventory and better technologies to support their mission, but what can make the difference is your passion and confidence in your startup pitch.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

All the Reasons Why Mixing Small Business with Personal Banking Isn’t a Great Idea

When starting a new business, you face hundreds of new challenges – many of which you have already assessed and many that you couldn’t have imagined. Once you have made up your mind to start your business, you need to set some rules. While there are many, today’s topic is mixing personal banking with business finances. A great number of new and small business owners make the mistake of mixing their finances with business finances. Here are the reasons why you should not do this when you start your business.

Reasons Why You Should Not Mix Personal Banking and Business

 

  •       To Make Loans Easier

If you want to make it easier for you to obtain loans, you would want to keep your bank account separate from your business account. The first rule one has to learn as a business owner is “business has its own identity.” Keeping that in mind, you have to open a separate account for your business. With time, your business will create its credit history making it much easier for you to obtain loans in future.

  •     To Know Business Expenses

When you have your personal and business account all mixed up, you don’t know which expenses are which. If you need to buy a new wristwatch for yourself, the money comes out of that account. If you have to buy new furniture for your business, the money still comes out of the same account. As the time passes, it will become nearly impossible for you to sift and sort through your expenses and business expenses. To know your business’ profit, you need to know its expenses.

  •       To Make Tax Filing Easy

Tax filing can become a nightmare for you with your personal and business income and expenses are intertwined. By mixing the two accounts, you are making the job difficult for yourself. As for the sole owners of a small business, it is best to put some percentage of your income in a separate account, so you don’t have to pay the taxes from your pocket at the end of the year.

  •      To Keep It Professional

So, you want your business to turn into a brand. You have had your visiting cards, letterheads, brochures, etc. printed. You want people to know the name of your business. Having done that, how does it feel when your customers and clients have to write a check in your name and your business’? People might think that you are not serious about your business and that you might change your mind at any time, which is a lost opportunity for long-term B2B relations.

  •       To Keep It Transparent

When the money from your earnings and business go on the same account, you will not distinguish between both when it comes to spending. At times, you might be making up for business losses from your pocket, and at other times, you will be buying your stuff from business money.

Bottom Line

For the reasons above and many others, it is in your best interest that you open a separate account for your business and keep your savings personal. You could also close doors for future incoming investments due to this basic non-professional move.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Loans Or Investors: Which Is The Way To Go?

Getting funding for your business is the top priority to getting it going. As you consider your options to procure funding, heading to the bank for a small business loan may seem like an easy solution. While banks can be helpful in their attempts to provide funding for a small business to start or even to grow, it may be remiss in providing the same level of benefits that you can receive from an angel investment.

The Business Of Banking

With a small business loan, sure you may be able to start your business quickly, but you will be missing out on the valuable advice, guidance, and experience that a private investor offers. A bank loan is cut and dry. You are on the hook to pay back the loan, plus interest, without any support backing you.

A bank has no involvement in your day-to-day operations. Their main concern is timely payments, so there is no sounding board for your ideas or help to make those big decisions that affect your operations. You are on your own without anyone to lean on when times get tough.

The Advice Of An Investor

An angel investor offers you more. For starters, they will direct their current customer base directly to your business startup, giving you an instant boost in revenue just through your partnership with them. In addition, you’ll gain the expertise of your seed investor as they offer words of wisdom and can help direct you on making those hard decisions that every business owner faces.

Your angel investor has a vested interest in seeing your business startup succeed and will do what it takes to help guide the operations in a positive way. Together as partners, you and your private investor will be able to find solutions, implement new ideas, and find ways to continually increase your customer base as well as your revenue.

Why go it alone when an angel investor can give help your business get the successful start it needs. Banks may seem like a doable option, and for some they are, but the added benefits that come from joining forces with an investor can be more beneficial to make sure your business startup is a resounding success.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

How To Make The Perfect Pitch To An Angel Investor?

The time has come for you to make your pitch to your angel investor. Everything you have invested into your business start-up rides on this moment, and it is up to you to make the best impression possible. While it can be easy to get bogged down in the details of your presentation, you need to consider what is needed to pique the interest of your seed investor and not bore them into submission.

Think about what makes you stand out as a business startup and use your assets to your advantage. Sure, the numbers are important in your pitch, but they should be used judicially. Your private investor is investing in you as much as your business plan, and your performance will set the stage for that all-important funding.

Keep these tips in mind when you are developing the perfect pitch for your angel investor and be sure to keep it light, entertaining, and above all interesting. You only have a few minutes to garner their nod, and you want to make the most of this opportunity.

Be Relatable

Because an angel investor is buying into you as much as the products and services you are looking to market, you need to sell yourself first. Allow them to see inside your world with antidotes that they can relate to. A good story can connect you to your angel investor and allow you to be a reliable source that they wouldn’t mind working with.

Keep It Simple

You may be immersed in the industry and the lingo that it uses, but your seed investor will feel alienated by your use of jargon if they don’t understand. Simplify the message and teach them along the way. Don’t use acronyms and be sure to avoid technical specs if they aren’t necessary.

Incorporate Images

The images that you choose to showcase to your business startup are crucial to helping your private investor see your vision. Most people are visual and need the help of visual aids to get the message across. Keep your images simple and make sure they properly represent your products and services. A typical power point presentation uses 12 slides, nothing more, nothing less.

Invite the Team

You have no doubt selected the best people in the business to work with you. Your angel investor needs to see the whole team to know how valuable they are to your business startup and how they, along with you, can propel the company forward. Invite them to the pitch and introduce them and their strengths.

Show Them How It Works

Let your angel investor see your products up close and personal. Be sure to show them how it works. Provide them customized samples that are geared toward their likes. It’s even better if your product can solve a problem they have right now. They’ll be able to see the merits immediately and invite you into the fold. If it’s a service that you offer, let your angel investor try it out. Make this part of your pitches hands-on and personal as possible, so you stand out.

Tell Them About The Money

Money talks and you need to show your current revenue stream and the impact the new funding will make on your business. If new start up, show the capital disbursements in how the Angel Investors funds will be used. Be ready to provide details on your sales revenue year-to-year as well as all your costs. You should have these numbers memorized, so you look prepared. Also, don’t forget to announce any large orders you have secured that will be coming in the next month or year. The more you can show your private investor that you have the goods to make this work, the more opportunity you have to secure that funding for your business start-up.

Use A Realistic Valuation

When it comes time to provide your valuation, it is key that you are as realistic as possible. A valuation that is too high can show your inexperience while one that is too low can predict your demise. This is the most common error that business startups make, turning off investors before they have even seen the product.

Let Your Passion Shine

You certainly should show your passionate side when it comes to expressing why you need funding from your angel investor. If they see the motivation and excitement you have, they will be more willing to fund you as they know you will give it your all to succeed.

Propose An Exit Strategy

During your pitch, you need to show your investor how they will recoup the funding that they are offering up. Remember they don’t want to be a lifetime partner. They want to earn as much as they can and get out. Propose a payback strategy as well as an estimated timeline. This will allow them to see the ROI of funding your startup business and the potential for their investment.

Don’t Forget The Follow-Up

Once you have privately pitched an investor. You still need to seal the deal and ask for the sale. Follow up with persistence to get your funding as your investor may move quickly to a new startup opportunity. You’ll also have to hammer out the details through negotiations that could be tedious to agree on. Get the process going immediately so your startup business can move forward too.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

5 Details Angel Investors Look For In A Business Plan

As a business startup, you have no doubt developed a business plan that outlines your need for funding to get your company off the ground. While you may have a clear purpose and objective, angel investors are looking for specific details that let them know that your business start-up has what it takes to make it in the marketplace.

With a seed investor seeing hundreds of business plan proposals each year, you need to make sure yours hits the high notes and resonates with them. This means that you have to hone in on what is important to them and help them see why they need to put their funding dollars into your business. Use these tips to enhance your business plan and garner the attention of an angel investor for your business start-up.

Industry Experience

Angel investors are savvy when it comes to industry experience, and they want to see that you have what it takes to make it in the marketplace. They want entrepreneurs that have intimate knowledge of the industry they are looking to break into and have even worked in a similar business for a time or two. This can help your business plan sing as you are able to relate your experience to what your business should and shouldn’t do to succeed.

Market Need

Using your business plan to show that there is a definite market need for your product or service can help your angel investor see the potential of your business start-up. They will easily understand the consumer problem you are looking to solve and see how your offerings fit the bill. Be detailed in your references and be sure to show how the market will respond to the availability of your product or service.

Competitor Knowledge

Knowing your competitors is key to understanding where you will stand out and separate yourself from the pack. Remember that your private investor may not be as fluent in your competitors as you are and you need to break it down in your business plan for them to grasp as fully as you. This can prove to be beneficial in gaining the funding your need to grow your business.

Business Traction

Showing what your business startup has done so far to generate revenues is a boon for potential angel investors to see. This lets them know you are on the right track and that your company has traction. Be sure to detail all your revenue streams as well as any upcoming deals you have secured to ensure they see the big picture of your business’ potential.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com